Why be concerned about Big Timber and arrogant public agencies (e.g., Caltrans) use of toxins? For me, it started as friends and clients in areas surrounded by timber developed flu-like symptoms which strangely went away when they left their homes and then reappeared as they returned. Another friend’s wife miscarried, friends driving to work past spraying operations had blurred vision, stinging eyes and headaches, plus the high cancer rate in our seemingly pristine rural community.
The miscarriage and flu symptoms paralleled the use of Garlon around the homes of these folks. The cancer concern develops as we look around and wonder how we could have such a high cancer problem when we lack the technology (toxic jobs), stress due to gridlock and associated smog, and farming (toxic food production). So where is it coming from? Well, one source is Garlon and Round-Up and the ugly head of misinformation. Misinformation is a dastardly deed, because it undermines the very important process of individual evaluation.
Monsanto tainted Round-Up with misinformation from its first illegal registration to today. Two falsified lab reports (to the EPA) got Round-Up on the market. Monsanto’s recent legal loss due to misrepresentation of the use of Round-Up, as safer than the label warning, underlines two important problems: 1. No public agency observed this misinformation and forced Monsanto to comply. Instead, public citizens sued to correct this in two states. 2. Monsanto felt secure in misinforming the public. Does this sort of false advertising have any effect?
When most of the public thinks the product is safe and uses it like the commercial, and not like the labels, I would hazard to say: YES! The problem of false advertising is now new. If you need scientific information to make a decision, you simply need to ask (937-1140). It is there and it is objective and definitive.
Dow Elanco, maker of Garlon and Agent Orange, misrepresented Agent Orange as safe. This product is now banned in the US, thousands of scientists (no exaggeration) said No to get our government to stop using it in Vietnam. Now, science addresses the most hideous part of Agent Orange since it was banned. It i not only directly toxic, but synergistically toxic. That means the ingredients are not simply additively toxic, but exponentially toxic. (E.g., 1+1 = 1000-fold increase in toxicity.) The result is a serious impact on all mammalian reproductive systems. Furthermore, Garlon is not that different from its parent chemical structure, 2,4,5-T. It is essentially a ringed structure with the chlorine on it. That’s what makes it toxic. The difference is that the new ring structure makes it harder to form standard dioxins in containers, and causes it to breakdown more quickly. Great, you say.
But wait. That is not the only place dioxins are produced. Dioxins form in paper production, because of the association of chlorine, timber-supplied ring structures (turpenes), and heat. Let me say that in other ways: Forest fires; burn piles! Once Garlon breaks down, what really happens to the breakdown components? They lie in wait in our forests or in its wildlife.
Here is how the toxic bank fits in. Most of these chemicals are lipophilic: fat-loving, or stored in fat. These are the toxins that accumulate in lower species on the food chain and concentrated as organisms higher and higher on the chain consume, accumulate and concentrate the lower organisms. Guess who’s on top?
The rest of the chemicals are water-loving (hydrophilic). They move into the water systems and end up in fish and their food sources or in our water sources. Once in the body of an organism, they can be chemically transposed into chemicals that are stored in the liver. Many of these pesticides work by blocking enzymes that do important things in the bodies of a pest. Unfortunately, they also impact non-target organisms’ enzyme systems. The liver cleanses the body of these toxins, but the problems develop as the liver becomes overloaded with toxins (the bank fills up) and shuts down liver function and toxin cleansing slow or stops.
Many of these chemicals mimic hormones like estrogen. They are designed to go after plants so they are plant specific but often dysfunctional hormones in other organisms. The result is similar to a broken key. It fits the lock but does not work. The problem is that it also stays in the lock and that door is now dysfunctional too. This is the sources of the accumulating data on lowered sperm counts, and reproductive system cancers.
The bank is loading up. As our bodies become more toxic, we become dysfunctional in many new ways. Depressed or malfunctioning digestion, bowel disorders, and cognitive functions that manifest into Attention Deficit Disorder, chronic fatigue, learning disorders, dyslexia, psychotic disorders, etc. We don’t simply keel over as the bank loads. We just rot from the inside out.
Caltrans and Louisiana-Pacific, Georgia-Pacific, and others accept the lies that the chemical industry is feeding us and the lies that the EPA is not standing up against. The irony is that the way they use these chemicals is antiquated. Modern farmers learned that an Integrated Pest Management approach makes more sense. Otherwise pesticide overuse results in pesticide resistant pests and lowered yields or reduced pesticide function. The Integrated Pest Management uses toxins ver selectively or not at all. In our forests and on our roads, the lack of understanding of the systems these agencies are working with is wreaking havoc on the system they are maintaining. Caltrans has no excuse, because other states have done the research for them (Iowa and Washington). Ten years ago scientists were saying that herbicide resistance is a reality. Iowa was saving $5.5 million as of 1995, by planting native plants in such a way as to reduce mowing and spraying.
Big Timber simply isn’t looking at the problem. They remove “competitive” plants and trees, that are competitive. They remove restorative plants like ceanothus, which holds soil and revitalizing it with nitrogen as the young trees grow in. Ten years down the line, ceanothus dies and naturally releases the conifers. This is not only bad science it is cost ineffective forestry.
Both industries are impacting our health and our economy. Health costs are real for you and me. In fact, they are large. Tainted water supplies and wild crafted crops like mushrooms and berries are unacceptable. Destabilized soils due to rotting roots, silting rivers, decreased fish prey, fish liver disorders, destroyed natural habitats, herbicide laced grass browse for deer all lead to dysfunctional wild systems and destroyed nature based activities like fishing, hunting and mushrooming. Erosion an slides create natural disasters and kill people. (I.e., Oregon’s slides that killed four and timber operators still clearcut above these homes.)
Could this be why Mendocino Citizens have lobbied their representatives to just say No to Herbicides on our roads and forests? Is this why Caltrans is becoming a dirty word in our community, when they could be respected for all of the other important things they do. Is this why concerned citizens take time off work to demonstrate against L-P’s continued use of inappropriate economic poisons and “forestry” practices? The term “economic poison” is very appropriate. After all, our economy is being poisoned, while we are.
I contend that there are two banks filling up. One for the Chemical Industry and those folks who are somehow gaining by turning a blind eye to an obvious sinister ploy. And the other is the toxic bank, effecting all living forms including us! It is earthicide, and the reasons for it are just not acceptable.